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La Roda (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-08-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: la roda |
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Flag of La Roda - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 May 2019

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Presentation of La Roda

The municipality of La Roda (15,515 inhabitants in 2018, therefore the 5th most populated municipality in the province; 39,879 ha; tourism website) is located on the border with the Province of Cuenca, 50 km north-west of Albacete.

La Roda was already settled in the Paleolithic, as evidenced by remains of a stone tool workshop found in Los Almendros. The Morra de Luchena necropolis confirmed subsequent permanent settlement from the Iberian to the Visigoth periods.
Remains of the Roman road that connected Complutum (Alcalá de Henares) to Cartago Nova (Cartagena) are visible in Los Prietos and Casa Tabernero; Roman coins were found in the today's downtown, as was a complete amphora in Los Prietos.

In the Muslim period, the town was known as Robda. Some historians believe that the Almoravids commissioned a ribat, a group of troopers, to watch river Júcar, then the border with the Christian states. Other consider that the town was named for arrobda, the customers who collected tax on sheep passage from a fortified castle. Ruins of the Moorish town (cisterns, caves and walls) survived until the 19th century.
After the Christian reconquest of Alarcón (1184) and Iniesta (1186) by Alfonso VIII, La Roda was incorporated to the Council of Alarcón. Juan Manuel, who was granted the domain of Alarcón by Ferdinand IV in 1305, granted the status of villa to La Roda in 1310. The privileges granted by Juan Manuel were confirmed in 1372 by Alfonso of Aragón, 1st Marquess of Villena.
On 8 October 1476, La Roda raised against the Marquess of Villena, who supported Joanna la Beltraneja against Isabel the Catholic in their struggle for the throne of Castile. As a reward, Isabel chartered the town on 24 October 1476, granting the honorific title of "Very Noble and Very Loyal".
The historical connection of the town with Cuenca was severed in 1586 when La Roda was transferred to Chinchilla. Reincorporated in 1785 to the Province of Cuenca, La Roda was transferred in 1833 to the newly formed Province of Albacete. The parish would be transferred from the Diocese of Cuenca to the Diocese of Albacete only in 1950.

La Roda is Spain's main center of production of Spanish White, aka White Earth, traditionally used as a white-washing painting. Dolomite rock, mostly composed of mineral dolomite, is extracted from the Los Terrenos open-pit quarry, which was mentioned for the first time in 1787 by the parish priest Jerónimo de la Serna; the deposit was formed in the Pliocene in a big, shallow lake.

La Roda is home of the miguelitos, puff pastry doughs filled with cream and iced with powder sugar. The local history says that miguelitos were invented in the 1960s by the pastry cook Manuel Blanco López, who named them for his friend and first taster, Miguel "Miguelito" Ramírez.
In 2015, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism granted the Miguelito brand to the Asociación de Productores de Miguelitos de La Roda. With the support of the Government of Castilla-La Mancha, the association is actively seeking for a protected geographical indication.
[Turismo Castilla-La Mancha; El Diario, 13 March 2019]

Ivan Sache, 3 May 2019

Symbols of La Roda

The flag of La Roda (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is prescribed by an Order issued on 19 May 1994 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 3 June 1994 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 29, p. 2,151 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, white with the municipal coat of arms in the center, covering one third of the flag's width.

The coat of arms of La Roda is prescribed by an Order issued on 19 May 1994 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 3 June 1994 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 29, p. 2,151 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Spanish shield. Azure a castle argent masoned sable a blood swale issuing from its closed gate on a base or surrounded by the letters "R" and "F" argent. A bordure gules inscribed "MUY NOBLE Y MUY LEAL VILLA DE LA RODA" [Very Noble and Very Loyal Town of La Roda] or. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The Royal Academy of History recommended to simplify the arms. In 1960, the Academy approved the proposed municipal medal, which features as its main element the place's coat of arms, composed of a castle surrounded by letters "R" and "F".
The proposed coat of arms is similar, with the addition of the inscribed bordure, the base or and the "blood swale" issuing from the castle's gate. In full agreement with the Institutos de Estudios Albacetenses, the Academy recommended to suppress the bordure, deemed "little appropriate and not compliant with good style," and to suppress as well the base and the "blood swale", which is nothing but the path heading to the castle's gate. The modified arms would be "Azure a castle argent surrounded by letters 'R' and 'F' of the same. The shield surmounted by a Spanish Royal crown."
The Academy validated the proposed flag "without any inconvenience".
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 191:1,174. 1994]

The gate of the castle is represented closed as a symbol of loyalty. The "blood swale" recalls the Roda betrayal, an historic episode during which Christian nobles were betrayed by a Muslim felon. Most modern historians, however, agree that the event occurred in an other La Roda, located near Saragosse.
Letters "R" and "F" stand for "Roda Fuerte" (Strong Roda).
[La Roda Tourism website]

The aforementioned parish priest Jerónimo de la Serna reported in 1787 the coat of arms of the town as "a castle with a crown open, a Greek 'R' in the middle and a 'F' around the castle, the shield orled by the writing 'La muy noble y leal villa de La Roda'".
The municipal seal used until 1860 has letters "R" and "F" placed on the castle's side and a warrior holding a sword added above it. A new seal was produced and used for the first time on 30 April 1860, without the warrior.
The old Town Hall had its facade decorated with a metallic coat of arms, whimsically surmounted by a helmet, designed by the artist Benjamín Martínez, who served as the town's Mayor during Primo de Rivera's rule. Subsequent versions of the arms were surmounted by a helmet. In 1960, the Royal Academy of History stated that this helmet was "an heraldic infraction"; the arms of a corporation that had always been a dependency of the kingdom have to be surmounted by a Royal crown. This did not prevent the ill-surmounted coat of arms to be used until 1970.
[La Roda, my patria chica, 28 March 2014]

Ivan Sache, 3 May 2019